A survey of the adolescent poetry preferences of seventh, eighth, and ninth graders

Date

1985

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Abstract

This study surveyed the adolescent poetry preferences of 575 seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students in a suburban Houston school district using the 1972 Terry study as a model. Purposes of the study were (l) to determine what survey poems were most enjoyed; (2) to analyze the most popular poems considering type, content, and certain poetic elements; (5) to compare relationships between student preferences with the preferences of students at other grade levels using the results from the 1972 Terry study and the 1979 Bryan-Agee study; and (5) to compare differences in preferences when different modes of presentation are used. The collected data was used to test three hypotheses and to answer the following nine related research questions: 1. Will the most popular poems of subjects in the 1985 study be similar to the most popular poems of students in the Terry study (1972) and the Bryan-Agee study (1979)? 2. Do boys and girls in this study prefer the same poems ? 3. Do seventh, eighth, and ninth graders prefer the same poems? 4. Will similar reasons for selecting poems be given by these 1985 subjects when compared with subjects in earlier studies? 5. Will the preference for certain forms of poetry be similar to preferences of subjects in other studies? 6. Will there be differences in the poetry preferences of those subjects who only listen to the poems, who only read the poems, and who both listen to and read the poems? 7. What are the main sources of poetry which is shared in the classroom by seventh, eighth, and ninth grade teachers. 8. How often do teachers of seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students read poetry to their classes? 9. Will there be a relationship between student preferences for poetry before the study and their preferences for poetry during the study? Subjects were grouped into three modes of presentation: listening only; listening and reading; and reading only. Those subjects listened to, listened to and read, or read 10 poems a day for 10 days and then recorded their preferences on preference sheets using a five-point rating scale. Subject also wrote responses to two poems each day. Using SPSSx, a frequency count of preferences was computed to obtain mean scores. An analysis of variance of the mean scores was computed to test the three hypotheses. In addition to an analysis of the written responses, other data was obtained from a student poetry survey and a teacher questionnaire. Although there were no differences in preference by sex or grade level, statistically significant differences existed among the mean scores of subjects in the three modes. Students preferred reading poems rather than listening to them or listening to them and reading them simultaneously. Other findings confirmed those of previous studies at all grade levels. Subjects preferred rhyme, the humorous narrative form, and content based on familiar experiences. Haiku and free or blank verse were the least popular forms of poetry. Prior acquaintance with the poems had no influence on preferences.

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Keywords

Poetry and children, Poetry, Study and teaching (Secondary), Junior high school students--Books and reading

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